Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Apple Heart: a new illustration & print for St Valentines Day

This one is for all you fruit lovers out there. I decided to not be a party pooper and embrace all things heart shaped for this coming Valentines Day. This illustration is inspired by my love of love and my love of the humble apple. It also is available as a limited edition print to order from my online shop.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Personal Work: Household Appliances

My recent house move has caused me to contemplate electrical, household appliances. I set myself the challenge of creating an illustration which celebrated the mundane items that are very much part of our everyday existence but we rarely pay any mind to.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

An Illustrated map for Delicious Magazine

I was recently commissioned by the lovely folk at "Delicious" Magazine to create an illustrated map of the UK for their "Great Restaurant Road Trip" article. I created illustrated icons for some of the UK's foodie highlights.  To see more travel inspired illustration, visit my

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

"Love is Here" The Illustration of John Alcorn

My first post of 2015 celebrates an illustrator of yesteryear. John Alcorn has always floated about on my peripheral vision but I’d never really investigated his output until a few weeks ago. Recently I was required to work with black outlines and block colours instead of my usual outlineless colour approach and I found that this seemed to deaden the image somehow. This experience made me more aware of illustrators who use outlines with colour and John Alcorn is indeed one of these but his work flows and and are striking and seem to breathe with life. His 1967 illustrations for “Pocahontas in London” by John Wahl demonstrate this particularly.

Alcorn worked in the influential Push Pin Studios in the USA in the 1950’s and went on to be a prolific illustrator, whose style is emblematic of the 1960’s aesthetic. Surveying his output, I am struck by how varied his work is, how he and creates both abstract imagery and figurative forms and can be minimal and then overtly decorative and detailed whilst never losing a strong sense of identity within his work. An explosion of colour, line, nuance, atmosphere and humour, he has now graduated to one of my favourites.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Sparkle & Spin

This edition of "My Favourite Book Cover" is actually more of "my favourite book" this month. Designer of beautiful books, Kimberly Glyder has chosen the 20th century wonder that is "Sparkle and Spin" by Paul and Anne Rand. I'm so delighted that Kimberly picked this book as it is to my mind, one of the most playful and skilfully designed children's offerings that has ever been published. If you are stuck for a gift idea, I can't imagine this failing to put a smile on anyone's face. Over to you  Kimberly:

Over the years, I’ve been a big fan of Paul Rand (who hasn’t?), but it wasn’t until I had my daughter that I was introduced to the book he wrote with his wife Ann entitled, Sparkle and Spin. It has become one of my favorite designs, inside and out, and one in which I’ve drawn a ton of inspiration from. I love Rand’s genius use of graphic imagery, limited color palettes, and beautiful mix of typography. I blatantly try to use these design principles on my own covers whenever possible. The story itself is sweet and rhythmic and I have very fond memories reading this to my daughter and son (at this point I’ve memorized the entire book). Sparkle and Spin is a classic and a book that I’m happy to look at (and read) for a long, long time.

About me

I’m Kimberly Glyder, an award-winning book designer (and sometimes letterer & illustrator), living in the Philadelphia area. Most days, I’m working on book covers and book interiors which means I get to combine my two favorite pursuits, reading and design. My 13-year-old self would be pretty excited to know all that hard work illustrating covers for my book reports (sometimes at the expense of the reports) paid off...

To look at Kimberly's work visit her website

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Three Brontē Book Covers

As a long standing devotee of the Brontë sisters, it was an honour to be asked to illustrate their book covers. I was commissioned by German publishes DTV to create patterns for a special cloth- bound edition featuring Wuthering Heights, Jane Eye and Agnes Grey. Unfortunately my German's not up to reading these versions but they shall be taking pride of place on my bookshelf nonetheless.

Monday, 17 November 2014

My Favourite Book Cover: John Clifford

As I am off to Berlin  this week it seems only fitting that this edition of "My Favourite Book Cover" should be bought to you by The Bauhaus courtesy of New York based graphic designer and author John Clifford of Think Studio.

"Though I could probably write an entire book on my favorite book covers, I'll narrow it down to one that was influential in my design education: Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar 1919-1923, an exhibition catalog cover designed by Herbert Bayer, who was both a Bauhaus student and teacher, in 1923.

I was a design student in the 1990s. Graphic design, or at least the design I noticed, was pretty complex then, with layers upon layers of texture, distorted images, and blurred or distressed type. It was chaotic. Messy. Sometimes illegible. I didn’t think I could ever design anything like that. I’ve always preferred being neat and clear and direct. In my uneducated mind, since all designers seemed to be doing that grunge thing, you had to do grunge if you wanted to be a designer. That, and the fact that I struggled through my first studio classes, made me unsure about this whole design thing.

Then I took a graphic design history class. I used to think of history classes as stuffy and dull. Not this one. I was floored: the simplicity and starkness of El Lissitzky; the asymmetry and white space of Jan Tschichold; the abstraction and restraint of Herbert Matter. And, the Bauhaus exhibition book cover by Herbert Bayer, with the big, bold, red and blue type filling up that square space. Nothing else to complicate it; just type. And look at how different the S in the first line is from the S in the second line!  It gave me hope: If Herbert Bayer could accomplish a lot with a little, maybe I could, too."

John Clifford is the author of Graphic Icons: Visionaries who Shaped Modern Graphic Design, and the creative director of NYC design firm Think Studio, focusing on identity, digital, publishing, and print design. He also teaches at Parsons School of Design.

Many thanks, John!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Stockholm and Portugal covers for SHOP Magazine.

Over the summer I did some armchair (or studio chair) traveling courtesy of Global Blue's SHOP Magazine. I was commissioned to illustrate the covers of their Portugal and Stockholm covers. These are two parts of Europe that are high up on my visit hit list, so it was delightful to create illustrations that captured their uniqueness. For Stockholm I focused on the spectacular island geography of the city, capturing it's archipelago of islands with geometric patterns as a nod to the city's proud design history.

For Portugal, I focused on the decorative, moorish influenced tiles that infamously adorn the country and how that influences contemporary Portuguese printed textiles.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

My Favourite Book Cover: Anna Morrison

This month's contribution comes from the talented and delightful book cover designer Anna Morrison with whom it turns out, I share a love of  Dick Bruna's book covers.

Oh, there are SO many amazing covers to chose from I really didn’t know where to begin. I’m drawn to book covers for different reasons whether they really suit the story, have a striking design or beautiful typography, it’s so difficult to pick just one.

I think Dutch graphic designer Dick Bruna’s covers are top of my list. Dick worked for his father’s publishing company (a bit of nepotism that worked out well) before coming up with Miffy, as much as I love that bunny its his book cover’s that really stand out for me. They are simple, striking and seem so fresh despite being created 50 odd years ago. He designed thousands of covers using a flat iconic style of illustration, restrained type and usually with a slight bit of humour, like a wink to the reader! I can see influence from Matisse (particularly after seeing his cuts outs at the Tate). I would have every one of his covers adorning my walls if only I had the space. I’m sorry I can’t pick just one so these are a selection of my favourites.

A more recent cover that has caught my eye is Where’d You Go Bernadette designed by Keith Haynes/Sinem Erkas. It has a similar striking graphic approach of Bruna’s work and I bought it just for the cover as I’m afraid I can’t help but judge a book by its cover.

Thank you Anna! You can see a sample of Anna's delightful colours here.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

"Dear Marie" Letters to Marie Stopes in the FT Magazine

I was commissioned for the latest FT Weekend magazine to hand letter extracts from letters to early 20th century, birth control pioneer Marie Stopes. In these letters she was both hailed as a modern saviour and accused of having a "warped and twisted mind", it was a fascinating article to be involved in!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

How to cheat at cooking: Ivan Ripley

I recently acquired a 1970's edition of "How to cheat at cooking" by Delia Smith and was delighted  by the illustrations that open each chapter. A cow, a sheep and a pig nestled into a decorative stew pot, a psychedelic gravy boat, what more could you ask for in a cookery book? The drawings are credited to Ivan Ripley who I've attempted to discover more about online to little success but I thought I'd share these '70s, culinary visual delights nonetheless.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

My Favourite Book Cover: Theo Inglis

This month's book cover lover is Theo Inglis: graphic designer and mid century design enthusiast. Theo's blog is one of my inspiration go- to's so I was very excited to see what he'd pick and I have not been disappointed..

"As a booklover with a design history obsession, picking a favourite book cover is a very tough ask! I'm not sure I could pick a favourite period of design or even one designer, let alone a favourite individual cover. So I'm going to dodge it slightly and pick a book for its cover, content and significance to me as a designer.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a house full of books, and even luckier that a few of them were rare graphic design classics. 'Graphic Design: Visual Comparisons' by Alan Fletcher, Colin Forbes and Bob Gill was a real revelation and introduced me to some of the most significant designers of the 20th century. It also served as a brilliant introduction to ideas focused design, and the foreword features my all time favourite quote on graphic design: "Our thesis is that any one visual problem has an infinite number of solutions; that many are valid; that solutions ought to derive from subject matter; that the designer should have no preconceived graphic style."

Despite being written fifty years a go I feel this thesis is still true today, and it helps to explain why I love book cover design so much; there are always so many valid solutions, the subject matter is very rich and cover designers get to work in a variety of different styles as appropriate to each individual book.

Now on to the cover itself! The bold sans serif, white on black gives it the quintessential 1960's serious graphic design look. But the eyes, illustrated by Alan Fletcher, in 2 different colours are much more playful and naïvely done. They do however hint at a greater meaning (the importance of seeing perhaps?) and the contents of the book, which presents two contrasting images side by side on every spread. While getting the book out to write this I noticed the nice way it peeks out at the other books on the shelf. Overall I love the covers bold and simple mix of serious and playful, but I do have a bit of a thing for book covers that look back at you. (

I'm a London based graphic designer, booklover and wannabe cover designer, currently working in the world of branding and packaging. Despite earlier professing to not having a favourite period of design, I have a blog on Mid-Century Modern graphics which you can find here and a website here.
Thank you Theo!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Mãn: a book cover

I worked with designer Peter Dyer to create this illustrated cover for "Mãn" by Kim Thúy. Published by The Clerkenwell Press, my illustration was inspired by the vibrant colours of Vietnamese vegetables and cooking ingredients.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

My Favourite Book Cover: Sian Wilson

Today the most talented and lovely book cover designer, Sian Wilson talks about her favourite book cover which is a real beauty of a 1960's Penguin Modern Classic, featuring a drawing by Duncan Grant.

"I can waste hours and hours looking for inspiration in old book covers. There seems to be so many restrictions on book cover design these days, it's great, and frustrating to see how much freedom book cover designers used to have. I've always had a massive soft spot for the art and design of The Bloomsbury Group, and this distinctive style says so much about the time in which Virginia Woolf was writing, as well as the tone of her books. But much more important than that I just think it looks absolutely gorgeous and really wish I had done it myself."

Thank you Sian, I wholeheartedly agree with all of the above.

Sian Wilson has been designing books for six years and is currently a senior designer at Little Brown Book Group. You can view some of her cover designs here.